Vera (TV series)

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Vera
Alt=Series title and an image of the lead character
Genre Crime drama
Based on Novels and characters created by Ann Cleeves
Starring Brenda Blethyn
David Leon (series 1-4)
Jon Morrison
Clare Calbraith (series 2, series 3-4)
Wunmi Mosaku (series 1-2)
Cush Jumbo (series 2, series 5-)
Kingsley Ben-Adir (series 4-)
Paul Ritter (series 1-3)
Tom Hutch
Sonya Cassidy
Composer(s) Ben Bartlett
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 16 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Kate Bartlett
Kate Lewis
Producer(s) Elaine Collins
Location(s) Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, Seaham, Sunderland, Co Durham England
Running time 95 minutes
Production company(s) ITV Studios
Broadcast
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV
Original run 1 May 2011 (2011-05-01) – present

Vera is a British detective television series based on the works of crime author Ann Cleeves. It stars Brenda Blethyn and is broadcast on ITV and in the United States on public television stations.

Summary[edit]

The central character is Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Vera Stanhope of the fictional Northumberland & City Police (Northumbria & City Police in some episodes) who is obsessive about her work and driven by her own demons. If she’s lonely she doesn’t show it and faces the world with caustic wit, guile and courage, often with highly strung bad temper. Her trusted and long-suffering colleague is Detective Sergeant (DS) Joe Ashworth (David Leon), her right-hand man and surrogate son.

Cast and characters[edit]

Character Actor Duration
DCI Vera Stanhope Brenda Blethyn 2011-
DS Aiden Healy Kenny Doughty 2015-
DS Joe Ashworth David Leon 2011-2014
DC Kenny Lockhart Jon Morrison 2011-
DC Bethany Whelan Cush Jumbo 2012 2015-
DC Holly Lawson Wunmi Mosaku 2011-2012
DC Rebecca Shepherd Clare Calbraith 2012, 2013-2014
Dr Marcus Summer Kingsley Ben-Adir 2014-
Dr Billy Cartwright Paul Ritter 2011-2013
DC Mark Edwards Riley Jones 2011, 2012, 2013-
Celine Ashworth Sonya Cassidy 2012-2014

Episodes[edit]

Series 1 (2011)[edit]

Of the episodes so far produced, Hidden Depths, Telling Tales and The Crow Trap in Series 1, and Silent Voices in Series 2, were based on the novels of the same names by Ann Cleves.

# Title Writers Director Original air date Viewing Figures (millions)
Sourced by BARB; figures include ITV HD and ITV+1
1 "Hidden Depths" Paul Rutman Adrian Shergold 1 May 2011 (2011-05-01) 6.75 [nb 1]
Forthright, drink-loving Inspector Vera Stanhope and her young sergeant Joe Ashworth investigate when 15-year-old Luke Armstrong is strangled and placed in a bath strewn with flowers and candles. Luke's widowed mother Julie tells them that Luke's friend Tommy accidentally drowned some months earlier and initial suspicion falls on Tommy's father. But then teacher Lily Marsh is murdered, also throttled and dumped on a beach, surrounded by flowers. The body is found by a group of ornithologists, including husband and wife Peter and Felicity Calvert, into whose beach house Lily was due to move, and Gary Wright, a womanising friend of Julie. Lily had a sugar daddy who paid money into her account and Vera learns that Tommy had photographed her with this man and had drowned trying to save his camera when it fell into the sea. She deduces that he is rubbing out evidence of the affair and believes the lover to be Peter Calvert.
2 "Telling Tales" Paul Rutman Peter Hoar 8 May 2011 (2011-05-08) 6.57 [nb 2]
Sentenced for the murder of Abigail Mantel, precocious young daughter of her lover Keith a decade earlier, Jeannie Long escapes from prison, and after a row with her father, kills herself. News of her death brings evidence that shows she was innocent, as she had long claimed, and Vera reopens the case. At a charity event where Keith pays tribute to Jeannie, Chris Winter, son of Jeannie's probation officer Robert, is murdered, having tried to contact ex-cop Caroline Fletcher, who arrested Jeannie and later had an affair with Keith. As Abby was a friend of the Winters, Vera suspects Chris was the killer but comes to realise that he was the witness, attempting to cover up for the real murderer. When Keith is attacked after exposing the secret of another family member Vera now knows that the Winters are shielding one, if not two, murderers.
3 "The Crow Trap" Stephen Brady Farren Blackburn 15 May 2011 (2011-05-15) 6.58 [nb 3]
Bella Furness is lured into a barn and murdered. Her body is found by environmentalist Anne Preece, who is researching reasons to prevent a quarry being dug nearby for a company headed by Godfrey Waugh, whom Vera discovers is having an affair with Anne. Bella opposed the quarry too, but with her death, her stepson Neville, whose business is failing, can sell the house. Bev McDonald is another suspect, as she blames Bella for the disappearance of her little son Lee twelve years earlier though Bella's husband, Dougie, now a stroke victim, gave her an alibi. Vera learns from Dougie that Bella was about to change her mind and sell her house to Waugh, putting her at odds with reclusive fellow campaigner Edmund Fulwell, who has a secret of his own. Parent-child relationships hold the key to unlocking what becomes a double murder, as well as discovering the fate of Lee McDonald.
4 "Little Lazarus" Paul Rutman Paul Whittington 22 May 2011 (2011-05-22) 6.51 [nb 4]
A woman is murdered in a hedgerow but her son survives the attack, only to fall beneath the ice of a frozen pond as he makes his escape. DCI Vera Stanhope wades in and drags him out, and against all the odds he pulls through. As the investigation into the mother's killing unfolds, Vera finds a kindred spirit in the boy and comes to realise the key to solving the case lies deep in his memory.

Series 2 (2012)[edit]

Episode 3 was due to be broadcast on Sunday 13 May, however ITV gave the following reason for it not being shown as scheduled: "We regret the late change to the schedule and the non-appearance of Sunday’s episode of Vera. The storyline of this episode concerns the death of a soldier in Afghanistan. Following the news of the deaths of two servicemen in Helmand province, it was considered appropriate to delay the broadcast of this particular episode"

# Title Writers Director Original air date Viewing Figures (millions)
Sourced by BARB; figures include ITV HD and ITV+1
1 "The Ghost Position" Paul Rutman Peter Hoar 22 April 2012 (2012-04-22) 6.12 [12]
When an old colleague of DCI Vera Stanhope, Sergeant Stuart Macken, commits suicide at the hospital where his daughter lies critically injured after his home had been fire bombed, the investigation leads to a number of suspects: the daughter's stepfather, a missing protester Sergeant Macken had under surveillance, the protester's pregnant girlfriend and an art teacher. Furthermore, a senior officer's affair with Macken comes to light and a second attempt on the daughter in hospital breaks the case wide open to explain the sergeant's suicide.
2 "Silent Voices" Gaby Chiappe Paul Whittington 29 April 2012 (2012-04-29) 6.53 [nb 5]
When a respected senior social worker, Jenny Lister, is murdered by drowning while swimming in a reservoir a number of suspects emerge from one of social services past cases about an infamous case involving the death of a child drowning in a bath. The child's mother was jailed, a junior social worker was pilloried and when Lister's missing laptop is found containing a book she was writing gives Vera a prime suspect until they too are murdered by drowning.
3 "Sandancers" Colin Teevan Julian Holmes 3 June 2012 (2012-06-03) 5.83 [nb 6]
Revenge is behind the clinical murder of Staff Sgt Deverson, a soldier in charge of a bomb disposal unit; The Sandancers. Deverson's second in command, Ollie, was killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device was having an affair with his wife. The wife, Ollie's family, and other members of the unit all come under suspicion and the death of another unit member confuses the investigation which is not helped by the army closing ranks.
4 "A Certain Samaritan" Paul Rutman Ed Bazalgette 20 May 2012 (2012-05-20) 6.98 [nb 7]
A shoe found in Newcastle matches another found on a dead body found in a skip in Portsmouth. The victim had traces of heroin in his bloodstream, a wallet containing £300 and another man's credit card which seem at odds with his character. The investigation includes a possessive mother, a girlfriend, a homosexual beekeeper dying of leukemia, and a local drug dealer later found dead on a beach. Vera's private memories about her dead father are also stirred when Joe gives her an address for her father's mistress.

Series 3 (2013)[edit]

In August 2012, Vera was renewed for a third series of 4x100 minute episodes with both Brenda Blethyn and David Leon returning for the new series.[22] Series 3 was estimated to be completed in January–February 2013, however it aired some months later from 25 August – 15 September.[citation needed] The first episode aired from 8pm-10pm, whilst the remaining three episodes aired from 9pm-11pm.

# Title Writers Director Original air date Viewing Figures (millions)
Sourced by BARB; figures include ITV HD and ITV+1
1 "Castles in the Air" Paul Rutman & Gaby Chiappe Will Sinclair 25 August 2013 (2013-08-25) 6.29
Young physiotherapist Lizzie Faulkner is shot dead while enjoying a holiday at a luxury country retreat. The resulting murder investigation unearths betrayal, guilt and the desire for atonement - as Vera moves quickly to avoid another tragedy, and Joe tries to make amends with the demons of his past.
2 "Poster Child" Paul Rutman Paul Cotter 1 September 2013 (2013-09-01) 6.74
Respected surgeon Dan Marsden is shot dead days before his retirement and his teenage daughters Mira and Karen are abducted. Joined by a new addition to the ranks, Vera investigates a mysterious parcel and a connection to the Iraq War as she races against time to catch the killer and save the girls. However, the case soon takes a violent and unexpected turn, striking at the heart of the team.
3 "Young Gods" Gaby Chiappe Dusan Lazarevic 8 September 2013 (2013-09-08) 6.54
The detective delves into the past of extreme sports enthusiast Gideon Frane after he plunges from a cliff in a ball of flames. A scan of the files reveals a long list of stalking complaints against an ex, and an anonymous letter to the victim spelling out Burn in Hell is linked to one of her friends. Aided by DC Shepherd and the newly appointed DC Edwards, the team tries to track down Gideon's old gang to uncover a lifetime of bullying and an unexpected story of rough justice.
4 "Prodigal Son" Marston Bloom Thaddeus O'Sullivan 15 September 2013 (2013-09-15) 6.54
The detective is brought in to investigate when a former Met police officer is stabbed to death outside a nightclub in Newcastle. The team initially suspects a crime of passion after it emerges the victim had recently rekindled his affair with his childhood sweetheart, whose husband has a history of violence. However, Vera uncovers evidence pointing to a more complex case involving inside information and the hostile takeover of a brewery. What did the deceased find out that cost him his life?

Series 4 (2014)[edit]

On 22 April 2013, ITV renewed Vera for a fourth series before the third series had yet aired. The series was filmed during 2013 and included an adaptation of the then-unpublished novel Harbour Street (which was published in January 2014, ahead of the TV broadcast). This made the opening episode the first since series 2 to be a direct adaptation from the Vera novels and leaves The Glass Room as the only novel yet to be filmed.

# Title Writers Director Original air date Viewing Figures (millions)
Sourced by BARB; figures include ITV1 HD and ITV1 +1
1 "On Harbour Street" Paul Rutman Thaddeus O'Sullivan 27 April 2014 (2014-04-27) 7.00
DS Ashworth's daughter is a witness to the death of a pensioner, seemingly stabbed, on a rush hour train she and her father were travelling on. The investigation leads back to the past lives of residents of Harbour Street in a quiet coastal village.
2 "Protected" Martha Hillier Daikin Marsh 4 May 2014 (2014-05-04) 6.44
When a young property developer dies on a beach in Whitley Bay, Vera Stanhope's investigation includes his father, his step-mother, brother, and an estranged sister. Another suspect is an arcade owner who hated the father since his own 15 year old son had died at their house years before, falling from the roof, accused of burgling the property.
3 "The Deer Hunters" Steve Coombes Will Sinclair 11 May 2014 (2014-05-11) 6.01
A man killed by a single gunshot wound is found by his car in a quarry. The victim was in Northumberland to sell his recently deceased grandfather's property but at the last minute pulled out of the sale to a wealthy couple who own a nearby Deer shoot. A second vehicle is found burnt out with the remains of a dead Stag in the back and poaching is suspected until Vera delves into the interwoven lives of the suspects that knew the victim and the fate of a huge Stag called The Emperor Hadrian.
4 "Death Of a Family Man" Martha Hillier David Richards 18 May 2014 (2014-05-18) 6.22
A man, outwardly happily married, is discovered in the river with his shoe laces tied together suggesting suicide until the post mortem confirms murder. Vera's investigation is joined by a Revenue and Customs investigator for whom the victim was an informant into the smuggling of alcohol which widens the suspects from family to include his business associates.

Series 5 (2015)[edit]

On 5th June 2014, ITV announced that the 5th series of Vera would air in 2015. It was also announced that David Leon, who played DS Joe Ashworth would not be returning, being replaced by DS Aiden Healy (Kenny Doughty).[23] Martha Hillier will write the frst episode of the series, which will see Vera and her team investigate a death at a caravan park. The directors for series 5 are Marek Losey, Daikin Marsh, Stewart Svaasand and Will Sinclair.

Ratings[edit]

The first series attracted an average consolidated audience of 6.60 million (25% share) over four episodes. The show was subsequently recommissioned by ITV for four more episodes. The second series attracted an average consolidated audience of 6.36 million (25% share) over four episodes. Vera was later recommissioned for two more series.[24] The third series attracted an average consolidated audience of 6.52 million (25% share) over four episodes, whilst the fourth series attracted a slightly smaller audience of 6.42 million over four episodes.

International broadcast[edit]

  • In Australia, the first series is broadcast on the Seven Network. Series 2 shown on 7Two from Wednesday 18 July 2012 at 8:30 p.m.
  • In Belgium, Dutch channel Canvas started airing series one and two.
  • In Denmark, the national public service broadcaster DR has aired at least the four first episodes on their popular channel DR1 late Sunday evenings. Season 2 was broadcast on DR Saturday evenings in 2013.
  • In the United States, the series is broadcast on public television stations. Series One was also available in the US for online streaming via the Netflix service. Series One, Two, and Three are available for online streaming via Amazon Instant Video, Acorn TV and Hulu.
  • In Finland the national broadcasting company, Yle, started airing all eight episodes starting on 21 December 2012 on Friday nights at 7 p.m.
  • In New Zealand the series is shown on TV One
  • In Croatia the series is shown on HRT2
  • In Germany the series is shown on ZDFneo
  • In Poland the series is shown on Ale Kino+
  • In Norway the series is shown on public service broadcaster NRK.

DVD releases[edit]

Complete Series Release dates
1 23/5/2011
2 28/5/2012
3 16/9/2013
4 19/5/2014

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 6.465 million on ITV and ITV HD[1] and 285,000 on ITV+1.[2]
  2. ^ 5.71 million on ITV,[3] 480,000 on the ITV HD simulcast,[4] and 374,000 on ITV+1.[5]
  3. ^ 5.90 million on ITV,[6] 463,000 on the ITV HD simulcast,[7] and 212,000 on ITV+1.[8]
  4. ^ 5.87 million on ITV,[9] 484,000 on the ITV HD simulcast,[10] and 154,000 on ITV+1.[11]
  5. ^ 5.75 million on ITV,[13] 461,000 on the ITV HD simulcast,[14] and 318,000 on ITV+1.[15]
  6. ^ 5.14 million on ITV,[16] 445,000 on the ITV HD simulcast,[17] and 240,000 on ITV+1.[18]
  7. ^ 6.08 million on ITV,[19] 461,000 on the ITV HD simulcast,[20] and 436,000 on ITV+1.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV w/e 1 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV+1 w/e 1 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV w/e 8 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV HD w/e 8 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV+1 w/e 8 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV w/e 15 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV HD w/e 15 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  8. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV+1 w/e 15 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV w/e 22 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV HD w/e 22 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  11. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV+1 w/e 22 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "Consolidated figures: 16–22 April 2012". Broadcast. 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  13. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV w/e 29 April 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV HD w/e 29 April 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV+1 w/e 29 April 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV w/e 3 June 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV HD w/e 3 June 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV+1 w/e 3 June 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV w/e 20 May 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV HD w/e 20 May 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  21. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV+1 w/e 20 May 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  22. ^ http://allthingslawandorder.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/itv-renews-law-order-uk.html
  23. ^ http://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-releases/filming-commences-brenda-blethyn-returns-fifth-series-itv’s-popular-crime-drama-vera#.U5BwhNxH9uY
  24. ^ "ITV recommissions four new dramas for ITV", ITV Press Centre (London), 26 July 2011 

External links[edit]